“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Blame the body first

This teaching came to us long ago, I have forgotten its source but it is eternal and wise. We have to take care of the body, maintain it, give it proper nutrition, not tax it too much with chemicals like sugar, caffeine, nicotine, salt and the multi-syllable preservatives and additives of the food industry. We have to do the same for the mind, maintain it, give it proper training, not tax it too much with news media, advertisements, entertainment. The body houses the mind, it supports it, gives it the structure and foundation that allows us to interact with others. When the mind is unstable, distracted, overwhelmed or in pain we should look into the body first, see what disharmony or imbalance is present that could be attended to and so assist the mind. These things are tools, just as clothing, vehicles and computers are. They are not our selves. They are for our use, they have limited efficiency and wear out eventually. Like any successful journeyman we need to take care of the tools of our craft. The better we do that the better our performance.

A Buddhist Mystic seems to have a very difficult job, complex and challenging. It reaches and demands the very utmost of a being. For this it takes great good health, attendance to well being. We need to be ready for the unexpected because it does come when we are least prepared.  This is why it is so often likened to the warrior or the hunter. There are aspects of this that seem contradictory. We need discipline but if it is too rigid it leads to anger and unkindness. We need focused intention but we must be open to what comes and flexible at all times. We have to build and conserve but also relax and let go. This is the middle way, not too much and not too little, not so far one way or the other, but balanced, at ease, in harmony. Even in sickness, even in health, that balance can be held, and that is the essential Dhamma.

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